Guest blog written by Camille Johnson (not sponsored by AFP)
Coping with grief requires a different process for everyone. For some, taking time to work through their feelings alone is most helpful, while others need the support of their family and friends. If you’ve recently lost a loved one, you may be feeling unsure of how to start the process of moving forward because there is no one right answer. This can be frustrating, but there are some actions you can take on your own path to healing.
Taking care of yourself is a priority, especially if dealing with your loss has led to a decline in your mental or physical health; visit your primary care provider or health and wellness coach to discuss your wellness needs, either in-person and with Telehealth visits. There are also a few things you can do at home to focus on your overall well-being.
Make your home a sanctuary
When you’re coping with grief, it is important to make sure your surroundings are comfortable, safe, and relaxing. If your loss was very recent, you may have chores piling up that are overwhelming to see every day; consider asking a close friend or family member to help you clean and put things in order. On nice days, open windows to get the advantages of natural light. If you have your loved one’s belongings in the house, you don’t have to get rid of anything you’d rather keep. Many people feel pressured to pack up those items or donate them, and while this may be helpful for some to move on, others might feel comforted by the presence of those belongings.
Go for something you’ve always wanted
Losing someone you care about often has the effect of putting things into perspective; for instance, you might realize that you’ve never set certain goals for yourself, and that you only get so much time in this life to make things happen. If you’ve always wanted to start your own business, you’re in a great position to do so, as the resources available to entrepreneurs right now are numerous. If you’re most comfortable working from home, make sure you secure a business structure that will keep your personal finances protected while providing some flexibility; online formation services can help you file LLC paperwork with ease so you can get started with your ideas right away.
Whether you’re working or just living there, spending a lot of time inside your home can be comforting after a loss, but it can also be isolating. Not only that, when you stay indoors for a long period of time, it can be detrimental to your health and can even make it harder to leave without anxiety. If you’ve been stuck in the comforting bubble of your home and are ready to make some healthy changes, take small steps. Sit outside in the backyard for a few minutes each day while the sun is out, or take a book onto the front porch and read. When the weather is nice, ask a friend to meet you at a local park to take a walk or to have lunch. It can be challenging to go back to being social after experiencing a loss, but by easing into it, you can prevent feelings of anxiety.
Adopt a pet
Another great way to ease feelings of anxiety and loneliness is to adopt a pet. Not only will it help to have a loving, loyal friend at your side, but studies have also shown that spending time with an animal can actually be beneficial to our physical health. Just keep in mind that pets require a lot of love and attention as well as a financial commitment, and you’ll want to do some research on the breed you’re interested in before adopting to ensure that you’ll both be a good fit for each other.
Moving forward after losing a loved one comes with a lot of conflicting emotions, and it can be overwhelming to deal with them all. Consider talking to a professional counselor or therapist if you’re unsure of how to cope.
Photo via Pexels
(Camille Johnson can be reached at email@example.com)